Consociationalism After Half a Century

  • Arend Lijphart
Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)


In this chapter, Arend Lijphart explains changes in the terminology from accommodation–consociation to power-sharing and consensus. In doing so he explains the basic characteristics of his consociationalism theory and divides its four characteristics into two categories: (a) cultural autonomy and (b) the other three (grand coalition, proportionality, minority veto). In the grand scheme of this book, which offers various accounts of how consociationalism has been implemented so far and how it can be improved, Lijphart offers an account of favorable background conditions for his theory to be useful in certain cases. He explains nine conditions for success but concentrates mostly on two: (a) the absence of a majority segment and (b) relative socio-economic equality among the groups. By drawing on the increasingly popular use of his theory in practice and giving examples from different geographies such as Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, Lijphart argues that there is nothing undemocratic about consociationalism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arend Lijphart
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

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